Man steals parrot from Stockton pet store


Security camera video shows the times a parrot, worth $5,000, is stolen from Carter’s Pet Mart in Stockton.

STOCKTON, Calif. — Ryan Carter, owner of a small Stockton-based pet chain called ‘Carter’s Pet Mart,’ has made a habit of filing police reports and reviewing security camera footage in recent months in due to a series of store robberies.

“The theft is just out of control,” Carter said. “It is growing rapidly, more than ever, during these times.”

On Sunday morning, employees notified Carter of another burglary, but this time the stolen item was still breathing.

Carter says around 10 a.m. on Sunday an unidentified thief entered his store on March Lane in Stockton. The man, who reportedly entered with a tool, walked around the store before going to the birdcage which houses a $5,000 blue-fronted amazon parrot.

This is where Carter says the thief used his tool to cut the cage chain and hit the parrot. After swaddling the bird in a waiting towel, the video shows the thief running out of the company gates as employees try to catch him.

“He ran and jumped into an older guy’s van that drove off with them,” Carter said. “The bird was screaming and holding on to both legs as it tried to free itself.”

The incident was caught on store security cameras, which Carter posted on social media. Community response started pouring in with regular customers and social media users spreading the word.

“The number of shares he’s getting, the number of calls we’re getting, the amount of information… I mean, it’s just amazing to see that,” Carter said. “Even in difficult times, the community can really come together and there are so many good people helping you out.”

Hours after Carter’s post went public, a woman who identified herself as the thief’s daughter returned the parrot to police safely.

Carter says based on security camera video, he believes thieves targeted his store in the days leading up to the unusual burglary.

“We understood that after this happened, they watched for a few days, coming in and looking at the bird,” Carter said. “If they’re willing to go to that level – of (stealing) an animal – I mean, it shows they’re willing to go to any cost to get what they want.”

RELATED: 20 Stolen Turtles In Stockton Cases, Police Release Surveillance Photos

According to Carter, the parrot is now doing well after being calmed down by pet store employees.

“Employees were just clueless,” Carter said. “We take care of the (birds) on a daily basis, and they love them and bond with them.”

After the startling burglary, Carter says he installed plexiglass doors on the birdcages and moved them to a location where employees will have a better view.

While he hopes to deter thieves with his short-term solutions, Carter is also hoping for relief after what has turned into a rough start to the year for his small business.

“It upsets me as a business owner. It makes it harder. You’re trying to have all these nice things, and you know, they’re constantly trying to find a way to rip them off,” Carter said. “There aren’t many consequences these days, and they’re getting away with it.”

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